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More than five decades of fundraising to protect our coast

View of Golf course and beach at Sandilands, Lincolnshire
View of Golf course and beach at Sandilands, Lincolnshire | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Since 1965, the people-powered coast campaign has enabled us to buy 574 miles of glorious coastline. Today we look after over 780 miles of coastline around England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We go to the coast to play, to relax and to connect with the natural world and the elements. Days at the seaside or walks along coastal cliffs are deeply engrained in our collective memory, and we need to cherish them.

Hundreds of thousands of people have donated to our coastal appeals or supported the work we do on the coast, so future generations can enjoy this beautiful, dramatic and diverse landscape. Here are some of the highlights.

Landmarks in our coastal story


Whiteford Burrows

The first site we ever acquired, thanks to the Neptune Coastline Campaign, was Whiteford Burrows on the Gower peninsula in South Wales in 1965.

Sea holly and grass on the side of a sand dune in Whiteford Burrows, Gower Peninsula, Wales
Sea holly on a sand dune, Gower Peninsula | © National Trust Images/David Noton

Facts about the UK coast

  • We own over 780 miles of coastline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (Three quarters of this has been bought since 1965)
  • The first parcel of land given to us was a stretch of coastal cliff at Dinas Oleu overlooking Barmouth in North Wales
  • In the UK, no one lives more than 75 miles from the sea.
  • The first place acquired through our coast fundraising campaign was the beautiful Whiteford Burrows on the Gower peninsula in South Wales
  • More than 90 per cent of donations to our coast fundraising campaign are people leaving us a gift in their will.

Our work at the coast

The generosity of our donors means that we can continue to look after special coastal places, protecting them for future generations. This includes acquiring new land, not only to safeguard coastal landscapes from development but also to allow us to adapt to future coastal change and rising sea levels.

Our coast fundraising campaign also helps us to look after the many miles of coastline in our care, from path maintenance to supporting nature and landscape restoration. Careful management of our sites means that we can ensure our beautiful coast remains a great place for wildlife to thrive and for everyone to access and enjoy, for ever.

Visitors at Wembury Beach, Devon

Leave a lasting gift

If you’re ready to leave a gift in your will, there are a number of options for you to write or amend a simple will for free. Learn more about free wills services and get started.

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